When you've just had a baby and are on maternity leave, it can be a great time to think about your career and what you want to do next in your life. You may decide to go back to your previous job, or you may decide to start running your own business from home. Advances in technology make it easier to do this.
But if you already have the full time, 24 hours a day job of looking after a baby, will it be too stressful to take on another job as well? How do you balance your commitments without running yourself ragged and giving neither your best?
Antonia Chitty is author of The Mumpreneur Guide, a practical guide for any mum who wants to start a business. She also writes about home working, mumpreneurs, flexible and part time work on her site, Family Friendly Working.
This is her advice for the best way to run a business when you have a baby or toddler at home:
Choose your business carefully to fit your needs Do you want to grow a big business, or simply boost the family income without having to put your tots in childcare? Write down what you want and pin it up so you can make sure your business is working towards these aims.
Work out what time you have free for the business, and remember that you also need time to relax and time to spend with your partner It is easy to burn out if you spend every spare moment on the business as well as coping with broken nights feeding baby or a toddler who loves early mornings. Develop a sustainable routine and pace yourself: most mums grow their businesses steadily and slowly.
Make a plan Spend a few evenings plotting out your plans for your business. Make this plan as detailed as possible and get help from your local enterprise agency or business mentor if you can. This plan will help you make the most of the time you have to work on your business as you will have each step you need to take thought out already. Then, when you get 20 minutes free you can make the most of it.
Get some help Every business has busy periods when you will be glad of some help. Make a deal with a friend to swap playdates, ask your partner to take the kids to the park once each weekend, find a local teen who wants to earn some pocket money or get granny to come over and help out so you can work. Plan this in advance and you'll be better able to cope when you do get busy.
The Mumpreneur Guide: Start Your Own Business by Antonia Chitty is out now and available here from Amazon
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